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Report No.
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Difference in expansion and dehydration behaviors between NH$$_4$$- and K-montmorillonite

Kawakita, Ryohei ; Saito, Akito*; Sakuma, Hiroshi*; Anraku, Sohtaro; Kikuchi, Ryosuke*; Otake, Tsubasa*; Sato, Tsutomu*

Montmorillonite (Mt) expansion and swelling are key factors for barrier performance of bentonite in trans-uranic (TRU) and high-level radioactive waste disposals. In the case of co-located geological disposal of TRU waste with high level waste, ammonium ion (NH$$_4$$$$^+$$) which is changed from nitrate ion leached from TRU waste has possibility to contact with bentonite, exchange interlayer cation of Mt to form NH$$_4$$-Mt, and deteriorate its performance. Because of similar hydration energy of NH$$_4$$$$^+$$ to K$$^+$$, NH$$_4$$-Mt could have lower expandability or change to non-expandable mineral as reported on K-Mt. Therefore, expansion and alteration behaviors of NH$$_4$$-Mt, especially comparison to the behaviors of K-Mt, are necessary to understand for safety assessment of the waste disposal. In this study, the hydration behavior of NH$$_4$$-Mt was investigated by XRD and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation in comparison with K-Mt. XRD profiles under Relative Humidity (RH) control showed that expansion of NH$$_4$$-Mt was similar to that of K-Mt at more than RH40% with slightly different d-values. However, expansion of NH$$_4$$-Mt kept at lower than RH20%, while K-Mt easily dehydrate at the same RH. MD simulation revealed that hydrogen bonding (HB) in NH$$_4$$$$^+$$ molecules causes the difference in hydration behavior between NH$$_4$$- and K-Mt, as HB cause larger basal spacing at dehydrated state and easier hydration. This gap on hydration may attribute the difference in alteration to non-expandable minerals after dehydration, indicating that NH$$_4$$$$^+$$ have lower possibility for alternation and smaller effect on barrier performance of bentonite than K$$^+$$.

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